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From the left: Harriet Berg and Ambassador Steffen Kongstad from the Norwegian Mission to the UN at the regional side-event on the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. 
Photo: Kaja Thorvaldsen.From the left: Harriet Berg and Ambassador Steffen Kongstad from the Norwegian Mission to the UN at the regional side-event on the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. Photo: Kaja Thorvaldsen

Norway co-hosts events on the Second United Nations Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights

Last updated: 04.12.2013 // Two thousand registered participants from over 100 countries gathers this week in Geneva for the Second United Nations Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights, making it the largest global discussion on business and human rights to date.

The broad range of participants is what makes this event a success, the Forum is a unique venue for bringing together business, Governments, civil society and affected individuals in one space to promote dialogue and cooperation” –UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, 2013.

The three-day Forum will bring together, among others, representatives of corporations involved in manufacturing, information and communication technology, mining, oil and energy, agribusiness, banking and finance, as well as people affected by these activities.

The Forum was established by the Human Rights Council and is under the guidance of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. The Forum provides a global platform for the promotion and implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. These Principles, unanimously endorsed in 2011 by the Council, are the first globally accepted standards on the responsibilities of States and businesses for preventing and addressing business-related human rights abuse.

Norway has a lead on this issue in the Human Rights Council and participates as co-host in several side-events. Norwegian institutions is also participating as speakers in several panels, including on privacy in the digital age, gap analysis and protection of human rights defenders on land and environmental issues.

In one of the side events the Norwegian Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi) addressed public procurement and human rights. The side-event addressed human rights dimensions, risks and opportunities of public procurement as well as relevant international, regional and national legal frameworks. The Side Event also highlighted case studies and experiences of integrating human rights into public procurement practices.

Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi) overarching goal is to work - through guidance and information measures (such as courses and seminars) – towards social responsibility becoming a natural and integral part of Norwegian public procurement. “We work as closely with the health authorities - who have come a long way to spread knowledge about socially responsible public procurement to other Norwegian public organisations”, the senior advisor Jenny Åhlstrøm at Difi, said.

The discussions at the forum will explore the current situation of human rights in the digital domain, international investment, agroindustry, employment and recruitment, global supply chains, and public and private finance. They will also focus on key human rights issues such as victim’s access to judicial and non-judicial remedy, and rights defenders confronting business-related violations.


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